Pre-mixed Drinks Challenge results are published

06 January, 2012

The 2012 Pre-mixed Drinks Challenge was Drinks International’s fourth examination of the category and our most wide-ranging yet.

This year’s blind tasting attracted pre-mixed products from countries including New Zealand, Mexico, France, Holland, Germany, the US and the UK.

Five gold medals were awarded in total, with Sierra Margarita from Borco International, Coppa Cocktails Strawberry Daiquiri by Toorank, Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri from Funkin and Manchester Drinks' My Cocktail Mojito all taking home the top prize. 

Drinks International assembled a panel of six judges for the event:. Dave Broido, senior trainer, Shaker UK; Chris Kelly, WSET marketing manager;  Andy Dennett, brand ambassador at Hi Spirits; Ian McLaren, head of product training and mixology at Bacardi Brown-Forman; Neil Garner,  Bar Wizards co-owner; and Hamish Smith, Drinks International news editor.

The tasting, followed by the Design & Packaging round, was divided into four categories: Classic Alcoholic Drink/Mixer Combo (orange text in the list of winners), Contemporary Alcoholic Drink/Mixer Combo (green), Ready-Made Classic Cocktails, ie Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Mai Tai, Daiquiri, Piña Colada and Others (black), and Classic Cocktails – consumer adds alcohol (red).

Judges agreed a degree of compromise by the consumer is intrinsic to the nature of convenience consumption, so a pre-mixed drink shouldn’t be judged against a top-notch cocktail. More, it should be a representation of the cocktail it is sold as and should have relevance to the consumer it is positioned to attract. With this in mind, judges found both reasons to be positive and areas for improvement in what is, after all, still a youthful category.

Drinks that scored highly tended to contain fresh fruit – not synthetic flavourings – discernible spirits and stuck to the traditional ingredients of the cocktail. Judges observed that aromas were not as prominent as they might have been but reasoned that manufacturers probably intended the drinks to be consumed in-can or bottle – not in a glass.

The overriding feeling was that the category is diversifying and increasingly ambitious in what it will take on – and while mistakes are made along the way, this is part of its evolution.

Certainly, an encouraging number of the 2012 class were headed in the right direction – towards fresh, unprocessed ingredients, complementary alcohol and sophisticated, relevant packaging design.

Results in full:


Sierra Margarita – Borco International

Coppa Cocktails Strawberry Daiquiri – Toorank

Strawberry Daiquiri – Funkin

Piña Colada – Funkin


Vodka Mojito – VnC Cocktails        

Viking Fjord Cosmo – Arcus        

Light Margarita – Jose Cuervo        

Coppa Margarita – Toorank

Piña Colada – Sainsbury’s

Coppa Cocktails Sex on the Beach – Toorank

Bloody Mary – Sainsbury’s

Raspberry Flirtini – Dirty Blonde Cocktails

Mojito – Funkin        

VK Cheeky Mixed Fruit – Global Brands        

Gin & Pick Grapefruit Juice – G&J Greenall

Gin Sin – G&J Greenall        


Gin & Tonic – Greenall’s Gin & Tonic

Gin & Diet Tonic – Greenall’s Gin & Diet Tonic

The Authentic Cocktail Company Mojito – Manchester Drinks Company

Coppa Cocktails Mojito – Toorank

Ginger Mojito – Sainsbury’s

Viking Fjord Mojito – Arcus

Viking Fjord Raspberry Mojito – Arcus

Cosmopolitan – Manchester Drinks Company

Coppa Cocktails Cosmopolitan – Toorank

Pomegranate Cosmopolitan – VnC Cocktails

Mango Daiquiri – VnC Cocktails

Strawberry Daiquiri – VnC Cocktails

Coppa Cocktails Piña Colada – Toorank

The Authentic Cocktail Company On The Beach – Manchester Drinks Company

After Dark Martini – Sainsbury’s

Blood Orange Mimosa – Dirty Blonde Cocktails

Passion Fruit Caprioska – VnC Cocktails

Vodka Apple – Cell Drinks

Vodka Caffeine & Taurine Reverb – Cell Drinks

Gin Fizz – G&J Greenall



My Cocktail Mojito – Manchester Drinks


Dirty Blonde Cocktails Raspberry Flirtini – Kristen Raskopf


The Authentic Cocktail Company On The Beach – Manchester Drinks

Coppa Cocktails Mojito – Toorank        

Coppa Cocktails Margarita – Toorank        

Pacific Mai Tai – VnC Cocktails

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.